NAPF goes down the engagement routeMarch 2000
The UK’s National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) has decided to help pension fund managers engage companies on socially responsible investment (SRI) matters.
The association, which represents more than 1000 pension funds investing £550 billion of assets, is expanding its Voting Issues Service (VIS) – which has until now provided advice only on corporate governance issues – by sending out information to targeted companies informing them of institutional concerns about their ethical performance.
John Rogers, director of the VIS, said the move was a response to the government’s new regulation, due to take effect in July, requiring pension funds to state their position on SRI.
He conceded many NAPF members ‘were less than wholly enthusiastic about the … disclosure proposals’, but said the service was being expanded to meet a new need.
With help from Business in the Environment (BiE) and the Ethical Investment Research Service, VIS will send sector-based fact sheets covering engagement and SRI to the 350 listed UK companies covered by the service. Previously it had restricted itself to sending out memoranda to company secretaries advising them of institutional concerns about corporate governance issues.
VIS has also accepted an offer from the Institute of Business Ethics to devise a series of check lists designed to ‘help investors engage with companies on these and related issues’.
They will be sent to companies three months before their AGMs ‘to give them plenty of time to consider and respond to the issues raised’.
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